You have to listen if you want to write


My parents are visiting my house right now, so I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to spend several full days with them. It’s been fun to watch them interact with my children, and also nice to have the time to just sit around and chat. The other night I was asking my Mom something about her father and somehow it brought up that she interviewed him (and recorded it on tape) shortly before he died. I commented on how great that was and she said “Yes, but I really did it wrong.” I couldn’t imagine what would be “wrong” about that interview so I asked her. She replied that she spent too much time trying to ask him certain questions. She said “If I could do it over again, I would just push record and let him talk.” I’ve thought about that a lot over the past few days and have come to realize how brilliant that really is. Of course she didn’t do anything “wrong” by conducting a more formal interview with him, but the idea of just listening to someone talk is probably some of the best advice I could ever think of to find meaningful material for journaling. Listening to what people are saying when they are just talking, is a wonderful way to discover who they really are and what is important to them. You can find out things you would never think to ask, and you will gain a great appreciation for their experiences and their personal story.

After thinking about what my Mom said, I decided to try and be more aware of what my parents were just openly sharing with me during this visit. The other night, we were driving to get a hamburger together and my Dad and my son were having a funny conversation. My Dad said something like ‘Don’t play mental checkers with your Grandpa because I’ll win” and we all laughed. Then he also joked about how he might win in real checkers because he learned from his own father who was nearly unbeatable at the game. He told us that it wasn’t until late in his Dad’s life that he could actually win in a game of checkers against my Grandfather. I had no knowledge or memory of my Grandpa playing checkers, and I really didn’t know that my Dad is also good at the game. I only found this tidbit out through listening. I’m sure I would have never thought to ask it as an interview question. I’ve been entertaining the idea in my head for days now – trying to imagine my Dad and his own father playing checkers. I’ve wondered if my son could have beat him (he’s pretty good at the game as well), or who would win in a match between my Dad and my son? A simple overheard conversation led to a lot of reflection AND gave me some great journaling material for this layout:

jbarrette-itsallfunangames-sp5 copy

It’s All Fun & Games Triple Dip by Jenn Barrette, Julie Billingsley, & Libby Pritchett. Fonts are Fontologie Textura Traced and Calibri.


If you are looking for inspiration in the journaling department, remember to put on your listening ears. Just pay attention to the conversations that are naturally happening all around you. I bet you will find something interesting to write (and scrap) about!

katie big

P.S. Corinne was the random winner selected from the comments on yesterday’s post.  She won $10 to the Ette’s store.

P.S.S  Mary(HappyNow) was the random winner selected from those that entered the Reader Challenge, JUST SCRAP!! She won $10 in product from the Ettes as well! 🙂